Iraq PM pauses security crackdown

Nuri al-Maliki issues order for army to hold back raids so opponents can disarm.

    Iraqi government forces have maintained a strong presence in Basra in recent days [AFP]
    The clashes have eased since al-Sadr, a populist Shia leader, ordered members of his armed group to stay off the streets on Sunday.
     
    Bid for support
     
    Al-Maliki's statement also said that the families of civilians who lost relatives in the fighting would be compensated, as well as those who have suffered material losses.
     
    Lamis Andoni, Al Jazeera's Middle East analyst, said al-Maliki was trying to win support from those living in Basra.
     
    "Maliki is trying to contain the damage to his reputation to regain support among the Basra residents," she said.
     
    "He could not win militarily, so now he is trying to minimise his political losses."
     
    'Fighters' killed
     
    A US military statement released on Friday said that Iraqi government forces had killed seven fighters in continuing clashes in Basra on Thursday.
     
    Sixteen people were also detained in the Iraqi security raids, the US military statement said.
     
    A man suspected of leading fighters in Basra to fight against coalition forces is among those held.

    "Intelligence reports have linked the man to the kidnapping and murder of Iraqi Army and Isof [a division within the Iraqi military] soldiers," the statement said.
     
    "He is also believed to be involved in oil smuggling and foreign fighter networks."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?